WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — ISIL is preparing for a winter offensive in Iraq when bad weather will reduce US-led Coalition air support, Iraqi Kurdistan Zanyari intelligence chief Lahur Talabani told a meeting at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy on Tuesday.
"We are digging in for the winter. … We are preparing for counter attacks from ISIS [ISIL] in the winter time because they use the weather to their advantage," he stated.
Talibani explained ISIL will try and punch a hole through the Kurdish Peshmerga forces’ lines as they suffer from a lack of winter equipment and other basic necessities, especially ammunition.
"We are not able to provide winter gear for our Peshmerga… We do need more help. … We don’t have enough ammunition, to be honest with you. … We have no way of obtaining ammunition," Talibani told the meeting.
The United States has funnelled as a matter of policy all supplies to the various forces fighting ISIL in Iraq through the central government in Baghdad.
"Everything has to go through the central government and we don’t have enough in storage," Talabani emphasized.
The Kurdish intelligence chief also pleaded with US military commanders and policymakers to step up military air activities on their behalf.
"It’s never enough, we always want more. … We are always needing more. It’s vital," Talibani insisted.
The Kurdistan government had also been unable to pay its combat forces for the past two to three months because the global slump in oil prices had slashed demand for their main source of revenue — oil exports.
"This financial crisis we’re going through — I don't see it being fixed in the next year or two. … We haven’t been able to pay our Peshmerga in the last 2-3 months because of the drop in oil prices. That’s affected the income of the Kurdish Regional Government," Talibani said.
The Peshmerga is the military force of Iraqi Kurdistan which is largely divided and controlled separately by the Democratic Party of Kurdistan (DPK) and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), although both pledge allegiance to the Kurdistan Regional Government.